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Re: Prince Henry in the New World - re the video
Dear Niven, here is an amended copy of my earleir email to Rob.
We have just watched a transcription of the Prince Henry Video you passed on
to Niven while we were in Canada.
I sincerely hope that it is just a pre-release copy and can still be
The photography is good, the editing highly acceptable and the voice used
for the commentary is easy to listen to. Sadly, the multiple inncuracies -
mostly of the schoolboy howler type- are far too numerous, damaging and
repitative for the production to be taken even half seriously.
It is claimed, wrongly, that William the Seemly St Calir crossed the channel
with William the Conqueror. Untrue. William the Seemly St Clair was the
sworn enemy of Wiliam theConqueror and wouldhave nothing to dowith the
invasion of England.Hecameto Scotland from Normandy via Hungary along with
Bartholemew Ladislaus Lesclyn as the escort for Princes margert Atheling who
was betrothed to King Malcolm Canmore who then awarded William with the
Barony of Roslin in life rent. This event is commemorated within Rosslyn
Chapel by a carving of a mounted Norman Knight with a female pillion
passenger bearing a cross, which late in the film is wrongly attributed
asacarving of the Templar seal of 'two brothers on one horse.'
.Contradictions abound between the repeated 'so-called' facts. i.e. they
rightly state that the Knights Templar were abolished in 1314 and yet, at
least twice, claim that Earl Henry crusaded with the order in the 1350's.
Nonsense of the worst order that raises the question - how did he do, in a
seance perhaps? Worse still they completely omit the highly pertinent fact
that Henry went on this crusade in company with, anda at the behest of, King
Peter of Cyprus andCarlo Zeno. Carlo was not merely the saviour of Venice at
the Battle of Chioggia, but was the elder brother of both Nicolo and Antonio
Zeno who accompanied Henry in his camapign in the Shetlands and who later
went on to explore theNorth Atlantic.
They also erroneously state, citing Father Hay as their source, that while
Henry was simply Lord of Roslin he had the right to wear a crown and issue
his own coinage - absolute balderdash as he never gained those rights in
Scotland in the 1350's as claimed, but only after being created premier Earl
of Norway with his installation as Earl of Orkney in 1379.
The commentary brings itself into further disrepute by referring to one of
England's leading medieval historians as 'Jouhn Julius'. Dreadfully wrong -
the man's name is John Julian Norwich - a peer of the realm as well as the
leading english speaking authority on the history of Venice and Byzantium.To
associate John Julian Nowich and our old friend Michael Bentine in the same
breath as a comparative lightwieght such as Dafoe is, perhaps, excusable as
Dafoe is reasoned and circumspect in his comments. I cannot be as generous
in my feelings when men of such greatness are included alongside such
deluded fantasists as Bill Mann! The whole section dealing with New Rossmust
be cut as there is not one shred of credible evidence that those ruined
'foundations' have any historical merit much less be associated with Earl
The film could be rescued by being drastically cut - by at least 30% - and
the gross errors in the commentary being amended - it would then be superb.
If it goes out in its present state - it will become a laughing stock which
will tar all supporters of the Prince Henry Saga as deluded romantics who
are cluthching at straws to support their case. If the subject matter was
not of such overwhelming importance, it would be truly laughable.
Incidentally, what the hell has the President of Czechoslovakia's address to
the Canadian Parliament to do with with Henry's voyage? That, taken in
combination with the other errors, is the straw which truly breaks the
Sorry to be so dissmissive of the work of someone who is possibly a friend
of yours, but truth and accuracy in respect of Earl Henry's accomplishments
are far too important to let go by default in the name of politeness.
If you can pass on these comments to the producersit should be possible to
turn adversity to advantage - this little film could be truly great - or the
greatest misfortune to befall the cuase of Earl Henry.
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